“A woman I commend for her compassionate work.” -Hillary Rodham Clinton
Michelle Madrid-Branch is an author, speaker and global advocate for women and orphans. She promotes a new kind of journalism based on seeking out the story beneath the more surface stories: the story of who we are, the unique gifts we bring and the challenges we face.
Michelle enjoyed a decade-long successful career as a television news anchor and investigative journalist, including an Emmy nomination while on-air with ABC-TV. She has three books in print—The Tummy Mummy, Adoption Means Love: Triumph of the Heart and Mascara Moments: Embracing the Woman in the Mirror—and is currently writing a fourth.
As an international adoptee, Michelle has been referred to as a “world-wide voice on adoption,” by Adoption Australia. She was inducted into the New Mexico Women’s Hall of Fame in 2006 and honored with the Governor’s Award for Outstanding New Mexico Women by Governor Bill Richardson.
Michelle never steps down when it’s time to speak up on behalf of others, and does so with a natural poise, genuine curiosity, and deep respect for whomever is in front of her. Her international upbringing allows her to feel at home anywhere in the world. With a shared passion for adventure and service, Michelle, her husband and three children have lived and travel worldwide. Their current home is in Santa Barbara, CA.
We all have stories to tell. Stories that connect and heal. Stories that grow us. Stories that offer our deepest hearts to those around us. Much of the time, these stories go untold.
We’ve been handed down stories from our family, communities, media and life experience. Sometimes it’s challenging to figure out which stories feel most true to us, and how to weave them together into something that aligns with who we sense ourselves to be.
Soul journalism promotes the search for the story beneath the more surface stories: the story of who we are, the unique gifts we bring and the challenges we face.
Learning to find, claim and tell these stories is key to personal freedom, rich relationships and cross-cultural connection. Until we start sharing these deeper stories, we will stay stuck in cycles of drama, suffering and violence.
These stories are nothing short of medicine that has the power to heal modern malaise and real-world problems.
As we tell these true stories and heal together, we free ourselves to offer ourselves and our gifts to one another. Story by story and voice by voice we address what matters most individually and collectively, with the shared vision of creating the kind of change in the world that honors all of its inhabitants.
Michelle intends soul journalism to be an invitation to reclaim power, beauty and agency by rewriting the stories of our lives. Soul journalism bridges a very real gap between those living in the center of social, economic and cultural privilege with those living on margins.
When we are willing to seek out and share the universal stories buried underneath the more surface ones, the world becomes a smaller and friendlier place, and meaningful global change more likely.
“My goal is that we, as women, may arrive at a kinder sense of beauty – one that heals and embraces all women regardless of their size, shape or skin tone.” -Michelle
When one woman hurts, all women hurt. And there’s no shortage of hurt today among women worldwide.
If you talk with enough women who’ve grown up in the west, you’ll find they’re heavily influenced by cultural norms that promote stereotypes narrowly defining what it is to be a woman. You’ll hear about self-doubt as they question their sense of value.
Ask most women if they think they’re beautiful, and you’ll hear what they don’t find beautiful about themselves, their perceived flaws and shortcomings. You’ll hear stories of shame and blame buried underneath the cultural pressure of needing to have it all together and the weight of an impossible perfection.
Post-feminism we’re better off in so many ways as women, but when it comes to self-perception, we haven’t come nearly far enough. This is the glass ceiling that so few of us are talking about. We don’t have to play this culturally-ingrained game any more. We can create a new playing field if we’re willing to look deeply within and question the beliefs that we’ve accepted until now.
Michelle is carrying out a kinder beauty campaign that she will be launching with her forthcoming book and online platform Fall 2014. The experience will include free resources, on- and offline educational opportunities, a blog, ways to get involved in local conversations and global actions and a network of connections to amplify the impact of other organizations working towards similar ends.
UNICEF estimates there are 17,900,000 orphans worldwide who have lost both parents—and 153,000,000 who have lost one parent—living in orphanages or on the street. When you add to this the number of children who are forced to enter foster care systems because their parents are unable or unwilling to care for them, the result is a staggering number of the world’s children without a family to call their own.
Michelle understands what it feels like to grow up knowing that your parents chose to give you away and the devastating consequences of abandonment that leave children wondering if they truly fit in anywhere.
It is vital to raise awareness and advocate on behalf of these children who often are invisible in our society. Collectively we’re only as strong as our weakest links, and orphans worldwide have not
received the kind of attention they—and we—need in order to thrive as a whole.
Michelle is recognized as an advocate for orphans worldwide. She travels the globe speaking with children, adults, and social workers about the importance of freeing orphans from believing that they are unlovable, unworthy or inadequate in any way—issues that so many of us from otherwise intact families can also relate to. She believes that by building bridges between orphans and non-orphans, we can learn more about ourselves, connect across cultural and socio-economic divides, and make all of our lives better.
Michelle imagines a world where no child is left unseen or unloved—and she is passionately committed to making that vision a reality. Please join her so that, together, we can help unite more adoptable children with loving families to call their own.
I am amazed by Michelle's dedication to making a difference in the lives of children. I am grateful to have such a role model among us.
She's passionate about adoption and works to educate and influence policy at home and abroad.
I love your work!
You are absolutely amazing!
I love your work. And your passion for what you do. You were chosen for this!
When I read your blog, I was truly inspired. Thank you for filling my heart and refreshing my soul!
A world-wide voice for adoption.
Thank you, Michelle for your wisdom, generosity, and open heart. The world would be healed today if it were ruled by women like you.
Your words of wisdom are appreciated.
A woman who has realized her higher purpose.
Michelle inspires women everywhere with her powerful and personal story. She is the ideal messenger to engage women with new techniques to empower their lives.
A woman I commend for her compassionate work.